Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13133


Ms ROWLAND (Greenway) (13:46): I rise to mention world premmie day on 17 November and premature birth awareness month and to highlight the experience of my constituent Mr Samuel Turner of Seven Hills.

Each year 13 million babies around the world are born too soon. Approximately 23,000 of these babies are born in Australia. The rate of pre-term birth is increasing, yet the general public knows little about the prevention of pre-term birth and the problems and risks involved in the development of a pre-term infant. Pre-term birth—which is also known as premature birth and which means the birth of a baby before 37 weeks gestation—is the second most common cause of newborn death globally.

Samuel was born premature at 27 weeks and weighed only 850 grams. He is now 19 years old and suffers chronic lung disease, severe asthma and some intellectual disabilities. Samuel made it clear to me that some children who are born premature do suffer physical and intellectual problems—including Asperger's syndrome, autism and respiratory and cardiovascular issues—but that premature birth does not necessarily mean death and that people born prematurely do not necessarily live a less fulfilling life than other people.

As I am a new mother, these issues have come into particularly sharp focus for me, and I believe that more attention should be given to the condition of pre-term births. I thank Samuel for bringing the important issue of premature births to my attention. Samuel is absolutely right that not only governments but also individuals need to support the cause of premature baby awareness through support to mothers, parents and families and for neonatal intensive care units.